Friday, May 18, 2012

Gender Issues: UN Women strengthens dialogue with civil society

gender issues

The importance of UN Women
UN Women champions gender equality, upholds women's rights and combats violence, discrimination and exclusion.
The statistics are shocking - between 15 to 75% of women in every community suffer from some sort of violence. Up to 70% of these violent acts are perpetrated by intimate partners. Two women are murdered every day in Guatemala, on average; in India, there are many thousands of dowry-related deaths every year; in so-called developed nations such as the USA, Canada and Israel, 40 to 70% of women were murdered by intimate partners; on a worldwide basis, 50% of sexual assaults are committed against children under 16; up to 150 million women and girls suffer some kind of violence yearly; 30% of first sexual experiences are rapes or attempted rapes.

Three million girls a year in Africa are submitted to female genital mutilation; 100 to 140 million women and girls live with the scars of this practice; 60 million children a year are forced to make commitments in marriage ceremonies; 80% of human trafficking is committed against women and girls; 79% of these, or 632,000 women and girls a year, are trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation. 379,200 women and girls are subjected to conditions of sexual slavery every year.

In parts of Europe, between 40 and 50% of women are subjected to unwanted sexual advances; in Asia, up to half the women suffer sexual harassment at work.

United Nations, New York - UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet today announced the members of her Global Civil Society Advisory Group that will facilitate regular consultations and dialogue between civil society and UN Women.

"I am delighted that a group of outstanding international women's rights advocates and experts on gender issues have agreed to serve on my Global Civil Society Advisory Group. They will play an important consulting role, and provide strategic perspectives on advocacy on gender equality and women's empowerment and on UN Women's thematic priorities," said Ms. Bachelet. "They will also help strengthen UN Women's engagement and partnerships with civil society at all levels. I look forward to working together towards our common goals," she added.

The establishment of UN Women Civil Society Advisory Groups at the global, regional and national levels was announced earlier this year at the 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. The Global Group appointed by the Executive Director is based on wide consultation with civil society networks and nominations from civil society organizations.

All members have proven track records of work in areas related to gender equality and women's empowerment, and bring diverse experience and expertise to the group. Members include grassroots, rural and community-based leaders, leaders of indigenous people's groups, feminist scholars, human rights lawyers, and male leaders working on gender and women's rights issues. The main objective of this Group is dialogue and engagement to advance global goals of gender equality and women's empowerment. The Group serves as a consultative forum for UN Women.

The membership of the Group will be rotational, and the current members will be serving for a period of two years. The current members of the Group are: Marling Haydee Rodriguez, President of the Union of Cooperatives Las Brumas, Nicaragua; Teresa Fernández de la Vega Sanz, Former Vice-President of Spain, Eminent Jurist and Founder, Women for Africa Foundation, Spain; Tarcila Rivera Zea, Founder, Center of Indigenous Cultures of Peru, Peru; Rawwida Baksh, Former Head of the Women's Rights Programme, International Research and Development Centre, Trinidad and Tobago; Patricia Perez, Global Chair of International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW), Argentina; Charlotte Bunch, Founder of GEAR Campaign, United States; Todd Minerson, Executive Director, White Ribbon Campaign, Canada; Hibaaq Othman, Strategist for Dignity Fund, the Think Tank for Arab Women and Karama, Somalia; Nehad Abol Komsan, Founder and Chairperson of the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights, Egypt; Rabea Naciri, President of the Democratic Association of Moroccan Women, Morocco; Violet Shivutse, Leader, GROOTS, Kenya; Bineta Diop, Executive Director and Founder, Femmes Africa Solidarité, Senegal; Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, South Africa; Josephine Castillo, Organizer-Trainer, Damayan Ng Maralitang Pilipinong Api (DAMPA), Philippines; Hina Jilani, Founder, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan; Bandana Rana, Executive President of Saathi and Regional Coordinator, South Asian Campaign for Gender Equality, Nepal; Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, Founder, FemLINKPACIFIC, Fiji; Drude Dahlerup, Professor of Political Science at Stockholm University, Sweden; Selma Acuner, Professor, Ankara University, Turkey; Cecile Gebroval, Programme Director, European Women's Lobby; and Joanne Sandler, retired Deputy Director, UNIFEM.

The first meeting of the Global Civil Society Advisory Group will be convened at the time of the 67th session of the General Assembly in September, when members will be able to provide important inputs into the work of UN Women, including on partnerships and the post-2015 development agenda.
National and regional civil society advisory groups are also currently being set up by UN Women regional and country offices, and a dedicated global website will be established for information sharing between the civil society groups and UN Women.

UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. For more information, visit UN Women, 220 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017. Tel: +1 646 781-4400. Fax: +1 646 781-4444.